iCompli Sustainability

There are nine “sectors” which make up the ASTM standards that address the full scope of the meeting and event planning process. Each sector contains eight categories (i.e. Staff Management and Environmental Policy, Communications, Energy, Air Quality, Water, Waste Management, Procurement and Community Partners) that include specific criteria which must be met to prove compliance and achieve certification. Procurement has been the most challenging so far for applicants. Satisfying the criteria for purchasing local, sustainable or recycled/recyclable goods has typically not been a problem, it’s specifically the process of tracking these purchases to determine if the sustainable purchasing criteria has been met.

First purchase the standard through the CIC website register your project with the Green Meeting Industry Council. Second, obtain a submission form from iCompli to gain a better understanding of what documentation is required to meet the criteria for your sector. Once you have the submission form, conduct a gap analysis of your current operation. After you have a better understanding of how your practices stack up to the criteria, you can develop a plan to address these opportunities for improvement. Finally once all criteria are met, pull together the documentation needed to demonstrate adherence and submit it for review by the iCompli auditors. Last but not least, share your story and success with the industry.

First, a bit of historical background. Each of the ASTM standards can operate independently for specific sector requirements as well as collectively for the entire event. In each sector (i.e. venue, food and beverage, destination) there are planner requirements and supplier requirements in the categories of policy, staff management, waste, air quality, water conservation, and procurement and community partners. These standards were designed to be performance standards (specific measureable actions that suppliers and in some part planners had to do and achieve in order to be in compliance).

The difference for the ASTM standards is that the accountability is heavily weighted on the supplier’s ability to consistently achieve environmental performance metrics before and during an event. The critical touch point is the mutual accountability of suppliers and planners related to the sustainability goals of the event. However in analyzing the area of control, the suppliers have greater measurable control of the performance outcomes of the standards than do the planners.

Phase one of certification focuses on verifying that suppliers are in compliance with Level One of the relevant standard. This does not mean that the event planner has been certified or that the event itself has been certified.

Phase two will focus on certifying planners and events. Certification of suppliers allows a planner or organizer to say that they are using certified suppliers for its event. Suppliers can say that they have been certified by an independent third party to be compliance with the relevant standard for their sector.

More than 300 professionals from all areas of the collective conventions, meetings, exhibitions and events industry participated in the creation of the standards. In addition to this industry expertise, the international membership of ASTM has contributed through that organization’s formal comment process.

The standards are applicable to any planner or supplier seeking a prescriptive, results-oriented approach to improving the sustainability of their events or events services. The standards can be used when planning or supplying goods and services for nearly any meeting or event, regardless of the size or scope.

Because of the modular nature of the nine standards, planners use the standards that apply to a specific meeting or event. This means the standards can be used for anything from a social event to a city-wide convention. Because the standards offer four levels of attainment they are accessible to any organization while offering a clear path for continued engagement and improvement.

The standards were conceptualized by the Green Meetings Industry Council (GMIC) in discussions with the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). In 2008 the project was brought to the Convention Industry Council in recognition that any sustainability standards created for meetings, conventions, exhibitions and events needed a broad-based approach drawing on expertise from stakeholders in all segments of this complex industry.

The Convention Industry Council partnered with ASTM International, an ANSI-accredited standards development organization (SDO). This partnership paired CIC’s Accepted Practices Exchange (APEX) model for creating consensus based best practices with ASTM’s formal standards development process and its diverse membership base of technical experts, engineers, materials scientists, and sustainability experts.

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